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Guide

Guides to Innovation at Scale: Planning a Challenge – Part 3

Underpinning the success of many innovation programs is an approach that uses Challenges. By setting up questions that ask for participants’ solutions to real problems, companies are better positioned to innovate in a continuous, scalable manner. This guide is the third and final of part of a mini-series focusing on the different elements of this Challenge-Driven Methodology. In part one, we discussed how to decide on the foundations of the Challenge. Then, in part two, we discussed the process of framing Challenges. Now, we’ll look at the final crucial element of Challenge planning: communications. Combined, these three guides offer a great insight into what needs to be done and when in order to run successful innovation Challenges. We’ll break the communication phase down into five areas and illustrate how the messaging should change at different stages of the Challenge process, to better reflect what the audience needs to do at that moment. The Challenge-Driven Methodology: An Overview Above is the Challenge-Driven Methodology that Wazoku uses with businesses that are starting an innovation program. We designed it to be universal and customizable to allow the companies that we work with, regardless of industry or scope, to get started on the journey towards scalable and sustainable innovation. With this structure in place, so that people in the organization can see the process at a glance, it becomes easier to see what the program is working towards. Three Key Phases of Challenge Planning Breaking down this methodology even further, there are three stages in planning a Challenge. Following on from parts one and two, with the background and framing of the Challenge established, it’s now critical to agree on a communications strategy. We’ll discuss what to communicate and when, all the way from initial “teaser” communications, through Challenge launch and live, all the way to the communications sent out once the Challenge is completed. Challenge Communications Process: Teaser Comms Teaser communications refers to the earliest part of this overall communication strategy. It’s the time when the intended audience is least familiar with the concept of the Challenge. As such, it’s vital that fundamental scoping questions are answered by the organization running the Challenge to establish goals and intent from the outset. Here, it’s important to understand the best way to reach the target audience. This audience – whether part of an internal or external crowd – are receiving tens, if not hundreds of communications a day, so standing out can be difficult. It’s also important to establish who on the Challenge management team is responsible for sending out these teaser communications. Finally, it can be handy to think about any upcoming events that the organization is running which could act as a nice tie-in. For example, if the Challenge is looking to improve the environmental credentials of the business and there’s an event around sustainability coming up, ensuring that a mention of the Challenge happens at that event would be beneficial. Challenge Communications Process: Launch Comms Once these initial points have been answered, it’s then advisable to move on to the communications that will be sent out around the launch of the Challenge. The audience is at least familiar with or aware of the fact that a Challenge is coming up, now it’s about telling them how they can take part. The questions that need to be answered here include: How do the audience access the platform? This is where the question, the full details of the Challenge, and the submission is housed. Ensuring that those tasked with taking on the Challenge have access to it is crucial.Can people participate on different devices? Software like MS Teams – which is integrated into the Wazoku platform – can run across several different device-types. Restricting the Challenge to a desktop only can limit how many people submit a proposal.Who will be responsible for sending this communication? Responsibility is critical to running a good Challenge, and communications is no different. Challenge Communications Process: Challenge Live Having teased the Challenge, and then launched it, we’re now going to look at how to discuss the Challenge whilst it’s live. Maintaining the attention of the target audience while the Challenge is live is critical to increasing its participation and success. Some companies prefer to send important messages via email but be careful not to over or under communicate. Messaging software such as Teams can be used, but be sure to deliver messaging here that stands out and doesn’t feel too lightweight There’s a finite window of time in which people can submit their responses to the Challenge. Techniques such as a “fake end date” set a week or so before the Challenge closes can be a good way of ensuring that anyone who missed this deadline can still take part. Challenge Communications Process: Idea Selection At this point in the Challenge process, submissions are closed. Keeping communications going, and therefore, keeping visibility of the Challenge process with the intended audience is critical for buy-in that helps with any future Challenge that will be run. The questions that need to be answered in the Idea Selection phase include: Will there be a live pitch to a panel of the selected submissions? If so, both the idea owners and the panel of judges need to be informed of how and where this will take place, as well as the outline of what’s expected in the pitch itself from a presenter.How will the outcomes be communicated? Regardless of whether they’re selected, the idea creators should be informed of the outcome. This keeps unsuccessful solvers aware of the fact that they could win without leaving them in the dark.How will the winning idea(s) be celebrated? It’s valuable to announce the winner as part of an email blast, a bulletin, or even a Teams/Zoom meeting. Recognition is often just as important to winning Solvers as the monetary reward that comes with most Challenges. Challenge Communications Process: Follow-Up Comms Even when the Challenge has closed and the winning idea has been awarded, the importance of Challenge communications should not be forgotten. Follow-up communication or check-ins that see how the winning idea fares when it’s implemented can be a great way of illustrating the value of Challenges to the target audience. Solvers that have worked on a Challenge will feel pride about seeing the impact of their work (whether their idea was selected or not) and those who didn’t participate will get to see the real-world outcomes of taking part in Challenges. Conclusion: In this final guide on the Challenge planning process, we’ve looked at the discussions around Challenge communications. Breaking this element of Challenge design down into five sections allows for a deeper, more focused look at the areas that need to be decided on ahead of time, as part of the communications process. It is vital to know who in the Challenge management team is responsible for these communications at each of the five outlined stages. Whether it’s the first time an organization has run a Challenge, or the hundredth, there is always room for improvement that can optimize the effectiveness of any Challenge. Perfection of Challenges will take time, but these guides and their steps will ensure you’re on the right path to delivering successful open innovation. About Wazoku: Wazoku is a pioneer in open innovation, crowdsourcing, and innovation at scale. For more than two decades, we’ve been helping our clients deliver sustainable and scalable innovation practices. As both for-profit and for-purpose, our software and expertise have been used to gain competitive advantage and overcome humanitarian crises around the globe, all of which are underpinned by the belief that anyone can be an innovator.

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Guide

Guides to Innovation at Scale: Innovating with Suppliers

Creating a truly scalable innovation program requires the optimization of every element of a company’s operation that is geared towards improvement. A business’s customers, internal employees, and external members of an open innovation network all rely on this community. Suppliers should also form a key consideration as part of the success of an organization’s innovation strategy. In this guide, we’ll explore what it means to innovate in partnership with suppliers, how a company can take on both sides of that relationship and share some reasons why it’s an important thing to get right. What is Innovating with Suppliers? Let’s begin by looking at exactly what is meant by the practice of innovating with suppliers. As Oliver Wyman put it in 2019: “Supplier innovation is about leveraging the innovation power of the supply base in a systematic way to increase one’s own innovation performance.” At a more basic level, it is the exercise of treating suppliers like any other collaborative, innovation community. It is about involving a business’s suppliers in conversations around solutions to existing problems, developing new products or services, and getting vital validation that that a new development is taking the company in the right direction. Why a company should be innovating with Suppliers: With the practice now more readily understood, let’s move on to look at some of the benefits that a company can enjoy from engaging with its suppliers on innovative practices. Having run many Challenges over the years at Wazoku, we’ve seen supplier involvement increase the value of an innovation strategy for a number of our clients. Some of the ways in which this manifests include: Attracting new suppliers to come on boardCross-pollination of ideas between an eco-system of relevant suppliersEducating suppliers as to current and future pain points faced by an organizationFostering collaboration across the network, leading to a more harmonious, focused way of workingGreater brand visibility for the organization across its supplier network as it offers insight into how the company operates. How to Innovate with Suppliers: A great way to get started on the journey of innovating with suppliers is to have a space – preferably online – where the suppliers can access and engage with your team. On the Wazoku platform, we offer this in the form of an open community. Having this allows a business to outline its stated aims and goals, so that suppliers can take that information on board and suggest ways in which it can help. Clients of ours – such as ESB of Ireland – have found this to be a great resource when seeking improvements from its supply chain. The community that it operates offers insights into how the business is set up, what it is looking to achieve, and how a supplier can get involved. Having this one-stop-shop makes managing the process of innovating with suppliers significantly easier than attempting to do something similar without it. However, It is likely that businesses both have suppliers and are suppliers in turn – of goods or services to other companies. Now, we’ll take a look at how to approach innovation as a supplier. How to Innovate as a Supplier: When on the supplier side of the fence, there are a number of things that an organization can do to demonstrate to its customers that it is proactive, innovative, and never satisfied by providing the same service all the time. Where we’ve seen this work well in our experience involves Challenges run in two different ways. The first is an Innovation Exchange, and the second an Innovation Campaign. Below, we’ll discuss what these are, how to do them, and why they deliver great value. Innovation Exchange: What is it? An innovation exchange is an avenue through which a business can supply its customers with solutions to problems that it has the power to resolve.How is it done? By setting up a community online as a supplier (something that the Wazoku platform enables), an organization can capture, evaluate, and prioritize improvements to existing issues faced by those it supplies to.Why do it? The gains for innovation exchanges aren’t just the obvious short-term effects of overcoming a problem. Being proactive here allows a company to bring this as a point of difference to future bids and renegotiations with its customers, by highlighting its innovative nature. Innovation Campaign: What is it? This is about a specific issue being faced by a customer that a business – as a supplier – can focus its energy on resolving.How is it done? Once again, this can be run through the Wazoku platform, but is run as a more time-sensitive manner. This enables an organization to utilize its entire hive mind and produce a solution that addresses a customer pain point directly.Why do it? Running an innovation campaign in this way allows a business to position itself as considerate and receptive of its customer needs. It allows for the demonstration of commitment to a customer that can make future deals a lot easier to acquire. Conclusion: In this guide, we’ve taken a look at the process of innovating with suppliers. Having outlined what the process is, we’ve also demonstrated why it should form a key pillar of any business’ innovation strategy. Lastly, we’ve viewed the relationship between supplier and customer from both angles, showing how one company can operate both positions simultaneously. Everything discussed in this series of guides on Innovation at Scale covers an element of a greater overall picture. Galvanizing the support for an innovation program from all of the crowds that a company deals with is vital to underpinning scalable, sustainable innovation. Innovating in this way brings improved results, with supplier innovation providing another crucial piece of the puzzle. About Wazoku: Wazoku is a pioneer in open innovation, crowdsourcing, and innovation at scale. For more than two decades, we’ve been helping our clients deliver sustainable and scalable innovation practices. As both for-profit and for-purpose, our software and expertise have been used to gain competitive advantage and overcome humanitarian crises around the globe, all of which are underpinned by the belief that anyone can be an innovator. 

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Guide

Guides to Innovation at Scale: Planning a Challenge – Part 2

Underpinning the success of many innovation programs is an approach that uses Challenges. By setting up questions that ask for participants’ solutions to real problems, companies are better positioned to innovate in a continuous, scalable manner. This guide is the second of a three-part mini-series focusing on the elements of this Challenge-Driven Methodology. In part one, we discussed how to decide on the foundations of the Challenge. Breaking the framing phase down into five areas, we’ll illustrate how to use metrics and voting as a way of measuring success, as well as discussing the submission and selection stages of the process. The Challenge-Driven Methodology: An Overview Above is the Challenge-Driven Methodology that Wazoku uses with businesses that are starting an innovation program. We designed it to be universal and customizable, to allow the companies that we work with – regardless of industry or scope – to get started on the journey towards scalable and sustainable innovation. With this structure in place, so that people in the organization can see the process at a glance, it becomes easier to envisage what the program is working towards. Three Key Phases of Challenge Planning Breaking down this methodology even further, there are three stages in planning a Challenge. Following on from part one, with the background to the Challenge established, it’s now critical to agree on a framing. At this point in the process, we’ll discuss the metrics against which the eventual Challenge will be judged. We’ll also look at what information needs to be included in any submissions, and how it’s possible to engage the crowd in initial evaluations. And finally, we’ll explain how the selection and post-selection stages work. Challenge Framing Process: Metrics The first stage in the Challenge framing process surrounds metrics. These are the data points that underpin the relative success or failure of a Challenge. This information may not tell the Challenge managers the reasons behind either a good or bad performance. However, agreeing on the metrics before the Challenge launches ensures that goalposts are understood beforehand and cannot be moved once the process is underway. As with all the stages of the Challenge framing process, there are some general scoping questions we advise asking, which include: How many people are participating in the Challenge?From that crowd, how many ideas are going to be actioned? This can really vary depending on the type of Challenge launched.In the case of implemented ideas, what are the benefits that these submissions bring, and how will that be tracked? Challenge Framing Process: Submission Once the metrics have been agreed, the next point of focus is to validate the Challenge process, starting with the submission form. What information is important to capture for the sponsor and team to properly assess the ides?  Here, it’s key to decide on a middle ground, between extracting enough data for the evaluators to effectively assess submissions, without making the submission process so time-consuming that idea creators are put off. With the personnel that will be assessing ideas already agreed, these evaluators can now be actively involved in this part of the Challenge framing, ensuring that they have everything they need to fulfill their role effectively. Some of the scoping questions to ask at this stage are: What information needs to be captured to inform selection or rejection?Are solutions from individuals or teams being sought? Will submissions from either one person or a group be considered?Will a canvas be used (Business Model Canvas, Lean Canvas or SWOT Analysis) to further develop ideas, once submitted? Challenge Framing Process: Voting Allowing the crowd to vote as part of the process provides insights for the key stakeholders as they are determining which ideas they want to pursue.  If it’s determined that voting should be enabled, the next question to ask is if it should be used as an initial filter for vetting ideas or simply as additional input to help make decisions.  With this crowd already engaged, it can be useful to use the collective to give their opinions on which solutions could work best. Allowing for voting on submitted ideas doesn’t work for every Challenge but is recommended for most. The scoping questions that we’d recommend using to determine whether or not voting works in a particular instance include: Should voting form part of the crowd participation element of the Challenge?If so, what role will voting play in the selection process, if any?   What form will this voting take? The options include simple up/downvoting (Reddit-style), up to 5 stars (Amazon-style), or token voting, where every participant is allotted a certain amount of tokens, which allows them to get behind a variety of ideas. Challenge Framing Process: Selection At this stage of the Challenge framing process, a lot of the criteria for idea selection has been decided on. The Challenge manager will know what is being looked for, from how many people, and how these ideas will be initially vetted. Following these sections, it is now crucial to decide the details of what form the selection process will take. With so many different types of Challenge possible, on such a variety of different topics and business needs, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach here. Some scoping questions to consider here are: Does the selection criteria align with the Challenge goals?What is the workflow for ideas from being submitted through to being selected for implementation?  For example, is crowd voting being used as an initial filter or are all ideas being evaluated by Subject Matter Experts?Who is responsible for the final selection of ideas?Will there be a final pitch event from which the decision on implementation of the ideas will be made? Challenge Framing Process: Post-Selection The final cog in the Challenge framing machine involves what happens following a final selection decision. Gathering, filtering, and selecting winning ideas is all well and good – and, from the above sections and previous guide, it is clear to see that a lot of thought needs to go into this. However, implementing these solutions is the entire reason for doing all of that work in the process. So, to drop the ball at this point turns Challenges into a waste of everyone’s time. The key points to decide on here include, but are in no way limited to: Who will fund the implementation process?How will the implementation of ideas be tracked?How did the Challenge track against the planning?What can be done differently to improve the results of future Challenges?Have the selected ideas, recognition, and rewards been communicated? Conclusion In this second guide on the Challenge planning process, we’ve taken a look at the discussions around Challenge framing. Breaking this element of Challenge design down into five sections allows for a deeper, more focused look at the areas that need to be decided on ahead of time, as part of the planning process. The central reason behind this is that it aids communication when the launch date comes and gives the company a better chance of engaging the crowd it wants and the buy-in that comes with that. A huge part of the success of any Challenge is found here, in the communication of it to a crowd. In the next guide of this mini-series, this element of Challenge planning is something we’ll look into more closely. About Wazoku Wazoku is a pioneer in open innovation, crowdsourcing, and innovation at scale. For more than two decades, we’ve been helping our clients deliver sustainable and scalable innovation practices. As both for-profit and for-purpose, our software and expertise have been used to gain competitive advantage and overcome humanitarian crises around the globe, all of which are underpinned by the belief that anyone can be an innovator.  

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Guide

Guides to Innovation at Scale: Co-Creating with Customers

Customers are the lifeblood of any business. An organization that prioritizes too many moving parts ahead of those it sells to is likely to fall short of growth targets or, in some extreme scenarios, fold completely. Given this reality, it’s surprising that the practice of using customers as part of an innovation process isn’t more commonplace than it currently is. In 1996, Ajit Kambil, Ari Ginsberg, and Michael Bloch of NYU’s Stern School of Business published a paper suggesting that it be used as a key strategy for transforming value propositions, working with customers, or complementary resources. The world of business may have moved on a lot in the quarter-century since, but the use of co-creation for this purpose, as well as its effectiveness in innovating in other areas, remains potent. In this guide, we’re going to discuss exactly what is meant by the term co-creation and how to contextualize it within a Challenge-Driven Innovation framework. We’ll also look at the reasons why a business should co-create with its customers and share some tips on how to do this successfully. Co-Creation: A Definition At its most basic, Co-Creation is defined as: “the collaborative development of new forms of value, from concepts to fully-formed solutions.” Through our work at Wazoku, the Challenge-Driven Methodology that underpins our innovation program is well-suited to support co-creation of all forms: particularly that between business and customer. The use of the term “co-creation” predates Kambil et al.’s work by some seventeen years. In 1979, Christopher H. Lovelock and Robert F. Young coined the term as part of their analysis of the benefits of looking to consumers for productivity. For generations, businesses have found success in turning to the people that spend money with them – or that don’t, in some cases – for ideas on where it can improve. Co-Creation is one of several handy innovation tools to have in any company’s back pocket. Now that it’s understood what is meant by the term, let’s take a look at why businesses should be co-creating with the customers it has. Why Should Businesses Co-Create? Having run Challenges that use co-creation with customers as a great resource for new ideas, we’ve narrowed down the reasons why an organization would use it as a tactic. These reasons are as follows: Shorter time-to-market: the continuous user feedback loop that co-creation with your customers provides means that it is easier to get new products or services to market in a quicker time. Enhancing knowledge and creativity: adding a crowd to any innovation program is going to result in greater insights being available to resolve an issue. The added benefit of this enhanced knowledge and creativity from a customer crowd is that this feedback is coming directly from those to who an organization is hoping to sell. Improved customer relations: involving customers in an innovation process contributes greatly to improved customer relations and loyalty. Enhancing this aspect of the customer relationship can help shore up any plans an organization has, as it has done the work to create a significant base of customers that are likely to return and spend with it again. The competition is also doing it: from a more business-minded perspective, this is the main reason why any company should consider co-creating with its customer base. If the competition is doing it, then there must be some value to it. Tips for Challenge-Driven Co-Creation Programs It’s great to be in a position of knowing what co-creation is and why it should be utilized. But there is still potential, especially if a business is running co-creation Challenges for the first time, that mistakes could be made. Below are some handy tips for things that any organization looking to get started on co-creation Challenges should either do or not do. DO – Keep an open mind: having a specific idea about who from the customer base to talk to may not be the best way to proceed with co-creation. Often, businesses believe that speaking to the most enthusiastic or engaged customers will deliver the best results. Engaging with the naysayers in the customer community can provide greater insight into current issues and how to address them. DO – Get internal minds involved: co-creating with your customers isn’t something that has to be done in isolation. Bringing in people from a variety of departments within the organization ensures that the entire process involves a more rounded perspective on any issue or new product, or service being discussed. DON’T – Go too big, too soon: involving a variety of people is great, but it’s key not to get side-tracked by trying to build the biggest community possible. If the process of co-creation turns into a numbers game, the returns delivered will likely not be as effective as those delivered by a smaller and still diverse, but more engaged community DON’T – Repeat desired outcomes: returning to this co-creation community once it’s been established but posing the same types of questions repeatedly leads to a gradually less-enthusiastic audience. Be sure to keep the problems that are brought to this community varied, to ensure that people’s interest doesn’t wain. These are general pieces of advice that any company, regardless of industry or size, can attribute to its co-creation program. They are also elements, as with so much of Wazoku’s Challenge-Driven Methodology, that can be customized to better fit any specific business needs. Conclusion In this guide, we’ve looked at co-creation Challenges. We’ve defined what they are and looked at where the term comes from. We’ve also broken down the different reasons why any business could look to start using them as part of a scalable innovation program. Finally, we’ve shared advice from our first-hand experience of running these Challenges on things to encourage and things to avoid. Managing ideas from any crowd can be a daunting task, especially if it’s the first time a business is doing it. This is made even more difficult if it looks to bring the very people it relies on to stay afloat into the mix. Having said all that, it is surprising how on-board customers can be to such a process, and unlocking the potential found within that hive mind could well be the difference between achieving and outperforming targets and falling short of them.

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Guide

Guides to Innovation at Scale: Planning a Challenge – Part 1

Underpinning the success of so many innovation programs is an approach that uses Challenges. It is a technique that brings focus and specificity to an element of business which can often be so open-ended that it doesn’t deliver any meaningful change. By setting up questions that ask for participants’ solutions to real problems, companies are better positioned to innovate in a continuous, scalable manner. This guide is the first of a three-part mini-series focusing on one of the most vital elements of this Challenge-Driven Methodology: which is the planning phase. Here, we’ll discuss the process, contextualize it through a sample scenario, and address some frequently asked questions which we’ve fielded through our decades of experience running Challenges. The Challenge-Driven Methodology: An Overview Above is the Challenge-Driven Methodology that Wazoku developed for using when you are starting an innovation program. It’s simple and completely customizable to any business needs. We designed it to be universal, to allow the organizations that we work with – regardless of industry or scope – to get started on the journey towards scalable and sustainable innovation. With this structure in place, so that people in the organization can see the process at a glance, it becomes easier to envisage what the program is working towards. This makes buy-in at the start, and the eventual success of the Challenge(s) run a lot easier to deliver. Three Key Phases of Challenge Planning Breaking down this process even further, there are three stages in planning a Challenge. This is how we’ll split the guides in this series as well, so that we’re focusing on these stages individually. First up, establishing the Challenge background is key. In this stage, we look at sponsorship, the framing of the question which the Challenge is based on. We’ll discuss which audience we want to be part of the solving process and how that solving process – including idea evaluation – will work. And finally, we’ll establish a timeline of events, to ensure that a time-sensitive issue doesn’t have a challenge that runs past a specific deadline. Challenge Planning Process: Sponsor The first thing to establish at the very beginning of the Challenge process is executive alignment. By alignment, we refer to the question of which executive has an issue or opportunity, and do they have the resources to ensure that the Challenge process is a success. At this stage, it’s a good idea to ask some general scoping questions, to ensure that the right information is being established at the right part of the process. Some examples here would be: Which executives care about this issue and why?How does the mission align with the overall business strategy?Does the sponsor have resources to take the successful ideas forward for implementation?Who will be managing the Challenge on a day-to-day level?Are there subject matter experts (SMEs) in mind to assist in evaluating the ideas? Challenge Planning Process: Question The next stage revolves around the question of the Challenge itself. In our experience, this is one of the most essential elements of the entire Challenge management process. Getting the question that is being sent out to a crowd right has a massive positive effect on how successful the eventual Challenge ends up being. The rule of thumb is that the broader the question, the more ideas are generated. The more focused the challenge, the less numerous the ideas submitted; however, they are usually more-easily actioned. Some of the scoping questions that it’s beneficial to ask at this point include: What is the problem that needs addressing?Is there a strict timeline in which successful ideas need to be implemented?What does ‘success’ look like in the terms of this Challenge? Whilst these examples may seem broad and slightly vague, they provide good jumping-off points from which follow-up scoping questions can narrow down the detail required. Challenge Planning Process: Audience Now that the content of the question is dealt with, the next stage to focus on is the audience to source solutions from. Contemplating this element ensures that crowd participation, and the way in which it is achieved, isn’t left as an afterthought. The scoping questions that we would recommend asking here include: Who’s the target audience(s) for this Challenge?What’s the incentive for participating in this Challenge?As an addendum to that second question, some follow-ups generally include:If the crowd is internal, where in the business is it based (geographically)?Regardless of location or type of crowd, how will they access the site?Which languages need to be considered for translation of the Challenge copy? Challenge Planning Process: Process After these first three stages, the Challenge begins to take on a more real-world form. It’s now established who’s backing the process, what the Challenge centers around, and where the ideas are going to come from. It’s now important to answer the question of how the Challenge will run from start to finish. It is vital to establish this at this point, as failure to do so can mean crucial stages of evaluation, feedback, and implementation are overlooked. Scoping questions to consider at this point include: What will the process for vetting ideas be?Will top selected ideas that make it all the way through the process be judged at a final pitching event?Who are the people that will be involved in the evaluation and selection process? Challenge Planning Process: Timeline The final consideration in this part of Challenge planning process deals with the timeline.The who, what, where, and how have been dealt with. Now it’s time for the when. Some of the scoping questions that it’s advisable to ask at this point include: When is the ideal launch date for the Challenge?When do selected ideas need to be identified by?Are there any upcoming business-specific events that could impact on the ability of the selected crowd to submit their ideas?Are there any known restraints on the timing of idea implementation? Once these five components have been ticked off; the Challenge has passed the first of three planning stages. Ensuring that time is given to considering the scoping questions mentioned above, especially when running an innovation Challenge for the first time, is a great way to avoid roadblocks at a later, less convenient point. Conclusion In this guide, we’ve started a discussion around the ways in which successful innovation Challenges should be planned. Using a staged process, we’ve outlined all the considerations that should feed into this area of Challenge management. The well-used phrase “failing to prepare is preparing to fail” describes the experience of Challenge management perfectly. Taking necessary steps before launch to troubleshoot the main aspects of the process and ensure that the correct information is in there enables Challenge managers to run a more assured process, that is more likely to deliver the desired results. In the next guide in this series, we’ll move on to phase two of the Challenge planning process, where we’ll discuss the framing of the Challenge. About Wazoku Wazoku is a pioneer in open innovation, crowdsourcing, and innovation at scale. For more than two decades, we’ve been helping our clients deliver sustainable and scalable innovation practices. As both for-profit and for-purpose, our software and expertise have been used to gain competitive advantage and overcome humanitarian crises around the globe, all of which are underpinned by the belief that anyone can be an innovator.  

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Guide

Guides to Innovation at Scale: Improving Customer Experience

Introduction: “Offering products or services alone isn’t enough these days: organizations must provide their customers with satisfactory experience. Competing on that dimension means orchestrating all the ‘clues’ that people pick up in the buying process.” That’s the introductory quote to a report published by MIT Sloan in April 2002. In the two decades since, this view of customer experience (CX) has only continued to snowball in truth and relevance. As the world of business has moved online, the need to identify, understand, and optimize the “clues” a business sends to its customers has never been more fundamental to an organization’s success. In this guide, we’re going to look at how a company can improve the experience that it affords its customers, through using Challenge-Driven Innovation. As well as discussing how it can be done, we’ll also explore why any business should prioritize customer experience, and some of the ways in which our clients at Wazoku have been able to succeed in this area. What Is Meant by Customer Experience Management? A key starting point in understanding how to use innovation to improve the customer experience is knowing exactly what is meant by the term. Far too many businesses still believe that customer experience and customer service are synonymous, which explains why these organizations come up short in this area. Customer Experience has a much broader scope. It refers to every single interaction and experience that a customer has with a company, from the very start of their journey to the very end. By widening the boundaries of focus in this way, businesses become better equipped at identifying flaws in its CX offering, and how to remedy them. Reasons for Improving Customer Experience: Whilst it may seem obvious that a reason to improve CX is to ensure paying customers keep coming back, the purpose of focusing on CX extends beyond just that fundamental point. Over our years of running Challenges in this area, we’ve found that these other reasons can be summarised in the following points: Reducing customer churn: one of the key metrics that a business, particularly those which exist solely online, measures its success by is a low customer churn rate. By addressing faults in a customer experience, it is less likely that a prospective customer will leave before spending money with a business, thus keeping churn rates low.Drives revenue growth: when customers aren’t churning, they’re spending. In providing an experience that customers are happy to repeat regularly, a business shores up their custom going forward. This leads to a natural growth in revenue.Builds brand loyalty: as an extension of increasing the revenue growth through repeat custom, a business is also seeing increased brand loyalty. As this continues to increase, these customers may even become ambassadors for a brand, encouraging their social circles to spend money with that company as well. Much like the journey customers go on in the case of a purchase, the journey to deliver a great experience is a largely intuitive one. By putting in the foundations for great CX now, companies are better positioned to grow year on year. What Are Organizations Already Doing? With the importance of creating a great customer experience front and center of so many business propositions, it’s not surprising that organizations are seeking ways to optimize it. Our work with clients has seen organizations in a number of different fields run Challenges in this area. Through this, we’ve picked up some pointers on the most effective ways in which companies have been able to achieve this goal. Capturing pain points: there’s no point in fixing a problem without understanding what it is. Challenges that capture pain points give organizations great insight into the areas they need to work on.Improving a process: as customer experience isn’t just about service and the end product or service, processes around how a company operates can negatively affect it. Companies that run Challenges on potential process improvements can be improving the CX, sometimes without even realising it.Co-Creation: customers have opinions about the good and bad side of any experience. Challenges can be run that involve customers from the get-go, allowing businesses a direct line to the issues that their target audience are facing.Developing Products: the customer frustrations aren’t always about something not working It could be that there’s a product they’d like to see a business offer which it currently doesn’t. Running Challenges which involve customers in the development process affords organizations an insight into the audience that any new offerings may or may not have.Running Competitions: a lot of the work to get any crowd involved in innovation Challenges has to do with incentives. By running competition Challenges, businesses are able to refocus internal and external crowds on the basic “what”, “why”, and “how” questions that underpin any successful customer experience. Conclusion: In this guide, we’ve looked at what the customer experience is and why it is so important to businesses all around the world. Having explored the reasons why any organization would seek to improve its current CX offering, we’ve also identified ways in which companies are already exploring ways to improve. A business simply cannot survive without customers. By focusing on the quality of the experience first-time customers have, a company can ensure growth is a continuous reality by keeping their customers happy. About Wazoku: Wazoku is a pioneer in open innovation, crowdsourcing, and innovation at scale. For more than two decades, we’ve been helping our clients deliver sustainable and scalable innovation practices. As both for-profit and for-purpose, our software and expertise have been used to gain competitive advantage and overcome humanitarian crises around the globe, all of which are underpinned by the belief that anyone can be an innovator. 

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Guide

Guides to Innovation at Scale: Incentives, Recognition, and Rewards

One of the key hurdles that a business must conquer to improve its innovation efforts is employee engagement. The whole process is going to require buy-in from at least some of your workforce, so actively giving reasons for participation is a critical consideration for any innovation manager. In this guide, we’re going to look at the different ways in which organizations meaningfully engage employees in an innovation process. Remembering that monetary reward isn’t the ‘fix all’ some may believe, we’re also going to look at examples of other effective incentives. The Importance of Challenge Planning: The starting point of getting an incentive right is communication. The greatest benefits can be attached to an innovation Challenge, but if the intended audience aren’t made aware of what these are, they’re less likely to engage in the process. By discussing incentives during the Challenge planning process, the communication is much easier to manage. As part of our Challenge planning process at Wazoku, we recommend clients discuss this midway through the process. To begin with, we establish who within the organization is responsible for running the Challenge, followed by a decision on how the question is phrased. Once these foundations are in place, the next stage looks at the audience, and that’s where incentives come in. Operating in this way allows an organization to give enough context to the Challenge and attach an appropriate incentive to it, whilst also ensuring that this isn’t an afterthought. What you’ll find in the guide Above, we’ve explained the importance of incentive, recognition, and reward in getting crowds motivated to participate. In the guide we’ll also explore how they can be used in different contexts with specific examples for each.

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Guide

Guides to Innovation at Scale: New Products and Services

The Importance of Updating Products and Services: The need to adapt is inherent to the long-term success of any business. Whether it be through a refreshing of an internal process, the expansion of a relationship with a supplier, or the development of new products and services, these continuous upgrades are a vital part of what allows a company to remain relevant. In this guide, we’re going to focus on the final part of that dilemma: new products and services. How a company navigates the need to produce better and more refined offerings to its customers can be the deciding factor in whether it exists beyond the next six months, particularly in this ever-changing global economy. Below, we’ll take a look at some of the roadblocks which exist that prevent organizations from adapting effectively as well as what our experience at Wazoku tells us about what a business needs to achieve this goal. Following that, we’ll look at some of the reasons for running Challenges in this area and illustrate what some successful organizations are already doing to achieve this aim. Product Development Issues: Just as the reasons behind running these Challenges are multi-faceted, so too are the problems that prevent companies from maximizing their product or service development potential. This can make addressing the problem even more complex than it ought to be. After working with businesses for over two decades, Wazoku believes that most hurdles in this area can be split into these three categories: Development Timeline is too long – this proves a huge obstacle as when customer expectations shift quickly, so too does the demand for getting new products and services to market.Inward focus means missed opportunities – companies tend towards internal changes rather than actively searching for new opportunities – whether this is in their industry or in the wider global marketplace.Failure to learn from past mistakes – businesses often produce findings on past mistakes that they have made regarding product or service development, but failure to put necessary changes in place means that these mistakes will be made again. The Ambidextrous Organization and Collective Intelligence: The above sticking points which provide barriers to an efficient product development process are commonplace. This suggests that traditional business structures may be a contributing factor to the problem. Therefore, moving towards becoming what’s known as an “Ambidextrous Organization” can help a business turn its fortunes around. By being able to adapt how much they exploit their current offerings with how much they explore new opportunities, a business can effectively balance its development efforts. A key steppingstone on the way to achieving this is adapting how a business interacts with its crowds. For far too long, companies have been happy to simply seek input from internal resources, fearing that actively exploring solutions from external figures could leave the organization vulnerable to their competition. However, in building relationships with external crowds – whether these are industry experts or a hive mind of many specializations, like the open innovation crowd on Wazoku – organizations have found themselves better placed to move towards becoming a truly ambidextrous operation. Reasons for running Product and Services Challenges: A great way of achieving this ambidexterity is to run Challenges specifically centered around new products and services. Some of the other reasons that companies have for running Challenges with this focus include: New ways of competing: organizations are constantly having to rethink how they compete. For example, the democratization of the travel industry, through new arrivals like Airbnb and Uber, has forced traditional hotel chains and transport businesses to rethink how to engages with customers.Building a wider value creation space: in response to competition, businesses are having to think about more creative ways to develop new ideas for products and services.Experimentation: to produce new forms of value, organizations are having to experiment more, establishing a more continuous process to assess their market fit. This is particularly difficult for risk-averse organizations to achieve. Wazoku has been running Product and Service Challenges time and again over the last twenty years as part of our offering. We’ve found that, once a business focuses its efforts on talking to the right people and tailoring its Challenges to the innovations it wishes to make, there can be no limit to what it achieves. What Are Companies Already Doing? A lot of this all sounds good in theory, but these Challenges can be daunting if a company is new to this type of innovation. Luckily, there are examples of ways in which businesses are already succeeding in this area. These include: Opportunity Scouting: this sits right at the front end of how a company enters this area. It revolves around how a business looks externally for new opportunities to explore.Open Competition: businesses are no longer just going to their organization in the hope of coming up with new ideas. Through Open Competition, companies explore who in their network already has a proposal that the business can then explore.Internal Incubators: Running Challenges that focus on internal ‘incubators’ means shoring up your internal scope for innovation and better equipping your internal crowd for current and future innovation Challenges. This links nicely to the concept of Intrapreneurship which has been discussed in a previous guideOpen Ideation: this refers to a slightly later stage in the Challenge process whereby an organization has received a proposal for an idea that could work in produce a new product or service. However, the implementation or development of that proposal could be something that the company cannot support internally. Asking an open network of Solvers is a great way of overcoming this potential obstacle. These are just some of the ways in which businesses that we work with at Wazoku have been putting New Product and Services Challenges into practice. Through developing proposals in this manner, organizations can achieve greater success. Conclusion: In this guide, we’ve looked at why developing new products and services for an organization is more crucial than ever before, as well as some of the hurdles that can make it more difficult. Drawing upon our experience in running Challenges along these lines, we’ve also discussed what a company should strive for in terms of its innovation process in this area and illustrated how some businesses are already doing this successfully. A product or service is the thing around which the health of a company revolves. Getting the development of these products and services correct is one of modern business’s most fundamental areas of discussion. As such, it requires more resources and more focus than most organizations currently allow for. By changing how a company approaches the development of new products and services for its customers, it can drastically improve its ability to compete with its rivals and establish a competitive advantage. This overhaul also shores up the business against future potential hurdles, as well as providing a great launchpad to expand their innovation efforts into something that is both sustainable and scalable. About Wazoku: Wazoku is a pioneer in open innovation, crowdsourcing, and innovation at scale. For more than two decades, we’ve been helping our clients deliver sustainable and scalable innovation practices. As both for-profit and for-purpose, our software and expertise have been used to gain competitive advantage and overcome humanitarian crises around the globe, all of which are underpinned by the belief that anyone can be an innovator. 

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Guide

Guides to Innovation at Scale: Process Improvement

When people think about the term ‘Innovation’, they often lead to the big and the bold. They imagine it as being once-in-a-lifetime ideas, generated from scratch that turn industries on their head overnight Occasionally, these revolutionary moments do come along. Far more regularly incremental changes, made to existing processes, deliver surprisingly effective results. When people in an organization focus on how to make their jobs more efficient, the potential upsides for the business are infinite. At Wazoku, we’ve found that our Challenge-Driven Methodology allows businesses to focus their innovation targets on any aim they may have. This way of managing innovation efforts can be customized to any organization. By running Challenges that are focused on a particular process, the ideas generated are more aligned to those objectives – making their outcomes more beneficial. In this guide, we’re going to look at some of the reasons for enacting change in this way. We’ll also discuss how organizations are already doing this and share some of the success stories that we at Wazoku have helped businesses achieve over the years. Reasons for Improving Process: In our experience, the reasons for improving processes fall into one of the following categories: Competitive Advantage: businesses that canvas employees who may use the products or services of a competitor gain a better understanding of the shortcomings of its offering. In this way, a company can increase its competitive advantage by fixing these issues. Time to Market: a company that manufactures its own products can find incremental ways of improving this process. In doing so, new products can get to market at a quicker rate than before. Waste Reduction: by improving processes, organizations can eliminate wasted time and resources on tasks that deliver minimal results. Cost-Efficiency: in a lot of businesses, budgets reduce in size: causing staff to have to do more with less. Leveraging our crowd can result in vastly improved processes that allow for cost savings in many cases.

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Guide

Guides to Innovation at Scale: Evaluating Ideas

The Importance of Evaluation: Often, when tasked with having to innovate, companies make the mistake of believing that idea generation is the only area that needs focus. Whilst this is important, the evaluation of those ideas proves to be as crucial in ensuring that innovation processes deliver positive results. In this guide, using Wazoku’s experience in running innovation programs with our customers, we’ll outline the aims of evaluation and look at where evaluation fits into the innovation process. We’ll also share some tips that we’ve discovered along the way, in terms of both personnel and criteria, as to how to optimize an idea evaluation duties. The Purpose of Evaluation: In simple terms, the purpose of an evaluation is to decide which ideas are progressed through an innovation process and which are rejected. It is the quality assurance of the innovation world, put in place to make sure that investment of time and personnel isn’t wasted on ideas that offer no benefit to an organization.  One of the main reasons that existing innovation programs deliver negligible results is because the evaluation element was being overlooked. As part of Wazoku’s Challenge-Driven Methodology, it forms part of a process proven to deliver results that companies wouldn’t have achieved otherwise. Where Evaluation Fits In The Innovation Process: The question of where in the innovation process to evaluate is a tricky one. It isn’t a one-size-fits-all recommendation, and its positioning often depends on some of the following factors. It’s vital to understand that evaluation isn’t just a Yes/No decision made at the end of a Challenge. Typically, it’s a more staged process that involves different stakeholders at different intervals. This staged process features an initial filtering stage to ensure duplicates or incomplete ideas don’t progress, followed by a more considered selection later. It’s also customizable, in that it can adapt to the different kinds of Challenges being run or the different kinds of ideas being searched for. For example, if a business is looking to explore new goods or services, the evaluation stage would come at a different point than if they were looking to optimize their existing ways of working.  Peer Evaluation: Internal and external crowds aren’t just there to contribute ideas. Increasingly, these crowds are being utilized to evaluate ideas as well. This is known as peer evaluation. In recognizing that ideas can and should come from anywhere, the same can be said of the evaluation stage. After all, those directly affected by the implementation of any new idea are best positioned to recognize its potential effects. These evaluations don’t have to take the form of extensive feedback or conversations with other evaluators. The Wazoku platform, as an example, supports users’ ability to rate or vote on ideas that they like or dislike. This produces an element of prioritization for management and an understanding of how widely an idea is supported.  Selection Criteria: The final element to plan is the criteria against which proposals are judged. This must be discussed before a Challenge goes live, as ideally these selection criteria will form part of the initial brief that users build ideas around. The kinds of questions that should be considered here include: what are the critical criteria for taking an idea forward (such as the time needed to implement, the budget required to deliver).what benchmarks already exist in terms of feasibility. If an idea has failed in the past, what has changed that would see it succeed now? Once these selection criteria have been established, a method of consistently evaluating ideas should be created. A tactic that Wazoku has seen prove useful is having a rating system. Divided into different sections – budget, timescale, priority – this system means that all ideas are judged to the same standard, and they all must achieve a certain ‘score’ before they can progress. Conclusion: In this guide we’ve looked at a critical stage of the innovation process: evaluation. It has outlined the purpose of evaluation and where it can feature within the process. We’ve also shared some tips around peer evaluation and selection criteria that have proven effective for our customers’ Challenges in the past. As a key component of the innovation process, it’s important to plan the evaluation stage beforehand. By taking the time to think about the who, when, and how of an evaluation stage companies can innovate to a higher standard than before. About Wazoku: Wazoku is a pioneer in open innovation, crowdsourcing, and innovation at scale. For more than two decades, we’ve been helping our clients deliver sustainable and scalable innovation practices. As both for-profit and for-purpose, our software and expertise have been used to gain competitive advantage and overcome humanitarian crises around the globe, all of which are underpinned by the belief that anyone can be an innovator.

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Guide

Sustainability in Innovation

Innovate more effectively for your Sustainability Challenges 2030 is a crucial year for sustainability, targets have been set across Europe to collectively cut greenhouse gas emissions and consumers are looking to businesses/service providers for guidance.  Business sustainability programs form essential components of how organizations operate and improve. In this guide we will look at: How to Identify key areas for improvement – Not all sustainability initiatives are created equalHow different solutions can be sourced from a variety of different areas of a company’s ecosystemHow businesses such as A2A and Waitrose tackled their own sustainability Challenges A Changing Landscape: As the significance of sustainability has increased, companies have changed the entire approach to the topic. Some research by Deloitte found that over half of organizations surveyed had a Head of Sustainability, but only 15% had a Chief Sustainability Officer in place. As a result of this reality, sustainability practice remains relatively confined to its own silo. Though incremental and limited, this change has been influenced by many different pressures. As sustainability increases in relevance and more companies begin to institute changes to react, these pressures will likely underpin any action taken. In the guide, we’ll take a look at these pressures in detail, as well as discussing possible solutions to these issues.

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Webinar

Practical Steps to building Innovation at Scale

Wazoku partners with John Lewis to present the practical steps to building innovation at Scale. During this webinar, you’ll find out: How the John Lewis Partnership harnesses employees to identify and address customer pain points.Ways you can build a culture of innovation through building capability and increasing innovation capacity. How to effectively connect with employees who aren’t desk based to ensure that everyone can contribute.  

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Webinar

How to Innovate at Scale – a Masterclass with Simon Hill

Simon Hill, CEO & Founder of Wazoku presented why Innovation at Scale is important, what does the journey look like and where do you start.  During this webinar, you’ll learn: Why there’s never been a better time to innovate, and not just because there’s never been a more pressing need to innovate (environment, diversity, inclusion, economy etc).The evidence and rationale behind our belief in innovation in scale.How we’ve built an enterprise Innovation OS to make sustainable innovation at scale possible.Stories of innovation success across our client base including HSBC, Sandvik, Novartis and many other leading global businesses.

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Webinar

Our Open Innovation Journey – Lessons from Bayer Crop Science

Wazoku partnered up with Bayer to have an interactive webinar to discuss their open innovation journey and the success that came out of it. Bayer – A Global Enterprise with a vision of health for all and hunger for none. Bayer has three major divisions which are Pharmaceuticals, Consumer Health Division and Crop Science. During this webinar, you’ll learn how Bayer’s Crop Science Division and subsidiary The Climate Corporation arrived at Open Innovation as an approach to solving important problems, how they utilise Open Innovation now, and where they see their Open Innovation programme in the future. In conversation with Wazoku’s CEO Simon Hill will be: Steven Reiser PhD, Strategic Innovation & Partnerships lead for Climate SciencePhil Taylor PhD, Open Innovation Lead for Crop Science at BayerShilpa Sood PhD, Lead, Cereal/Other Crops Modeling Team at Climate Science.

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Webinar

Innovation in Defence – Managing Innovation at Scale

The Ministry of Defence’s goal is to be “Innovative by Instinct” but what does this look like in practice? Even complex organisations can scale and embed a true culture of innovation inside and outside the business. The Ministry of Defence (MOD), while operating in the public sector, faces similar challenges to private enterprise organisations as it operates globally, 24/7 across The Royal Navy, British Army, the Royal Air Force, Joint Forces Command, Defence Infrastructure Organisation and beyond. The MOD’s goal is to be “Innovative by instinct”, and to do this they use Wazoku’s Idea Management Software to seek ideas and opportunities in unconventional places and unanticipated relationships. Watch this on-demand webinar, with Ministry of Defence innovation leader, Stuart Laws, to understand: The importance of innovating with the people across your internal and external networkHow far the MOD has come in 50 years of innovation plus examples of key outcomesThe shift towards strategic idea management with a true Global Home for IdeasWhat’s in store for the future of innovation in Defence and how you can get involved The Speaker: Stuart Laws, Defence Innovation, Ministry of Defence

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Webinar

Solving Problems Using the Internet of Prepared Minds and Co-creation

Open innovation and co-creation are words that get thrown around a lot by businesses. But can these methodologies solve complex business problems?  This 30-minute on-demand webinar delves into the opportunities that open innovation and co-creation produce and what it really means in the context of solving business problems. The webinar showcases: What is open innovation, the Internet of Prepared minds and co-creation in a business contextThe key challenges and benefits of co-creation for organisationsWhy industries should widen their network to create new opportunitiesSome proven examples of the open innovation and co-creation methodology

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Webinar

Six Ways to Improve Innovation Through Culture Change

What does it take to become a truly innovative organisation? There are still organisations that see innovation as a function, assigning a small group of people the impossible task to transform their business. They then might embark on an overly ambitious transformation programme that fails or loses momentum with little measurable outcome. Wazoku, Goodwind and April all take a different stance – to be truly innovative, organisations need to make innovation part of their DNA, tapping into the creative potential of all their stakeholders: their workforce, ecosystem and customers. Watch this on-demand webinar now, where Innov8rs, Wazoku, Goodwind and April will share six practical ways to improve innovation through culture change, all inspired by real-life customer examples. Hosted by Innov8rs. Presented by: Nicola Darke, Customer Success Director, WazokuHans Gillior, Founder, Goodwind CompanyTim Westall, Founder, April Strategy

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Report

What is Everyday Innovation?

What Everyday Innovation Means to Us Everyday Innovation is a war cry for organisations who understand that they need to innovate but despite their best efforts, are still struggling to turn their aspirations into action. It is an ethos, a new perspective and a guide for every organisation seeking to embed a high-performing culture of innovation. // Simon Hill CEO Wazoku So, what is Everyday innovation? Everyday Innovation is more of a culture than it is a singular thing. Everyday Innovation is a way of integrating an innovative mindset to every fibre of your business. And while many modern businesses see innovation as a necessity, the number of companies who truly innovate is still startlingly low. Though this might not be just down to effort, but down to the mistranslation as to what innovation really is. When companies think of innovation, they tend to think of either slight, incremental innovation (which admittedly many companies are learning to excel at) or massive, game-changing innovations (like Apple changing the mobile market with the iPhone). But what happens in the middle? What are the improvements that are bigger than incremental, but not big enough to change the company from the ground up. Incremental innovation doesn’t redefine the organisation and radical innovations are not common enough. Everyday Innovation consists of five pillars, Strategy, Leadership, Management, Culture and Tools & Processes. To master all five of these is to begin to conquer innovation. With our Everyday innovation report, we answer what innovation really is, and take you through the steps to implement an element of innovation into each of these Big 5. When innovation flows through all five steps, then you are truly stepping ahead of the pack and innovating towards future success.

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Report

The New Innovation Conversation

Investigating the challenges of business innovation Our survey of over 1,000 board members, senior managers, middle managers and everyday workers within large enterprises across the UK sheds further light on the innovation challenges facing businesses. 72% of employees currently have no understanding of what innovation means to their employers38% of managers say innovation isn’t their responsibility because it’s not in their job description79% believe ideas are improved by collaboration at all levels, rather than through reliance on lone thinkers or leaders This report can help you understand: What best-practice innovation looks likeWhere you are on their journey to achieving itWhat you can do to innovate fasterHow to continue evolving innovation

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Report

Design Thinking and Everyday Innovation

Driving better outcomes for your customers The latest report in Wazoku’s Everyday Innovation series provides an introduction and practical advice to incorporate design thinking into your innovation programme. Download the report to: Move past the hype with a clear introduction to design thinking and how you can use it within your organisation to achieve desired outcomes.Understand how the Everyday Innovation framework can help identify customers’ problems, collaborate on creative solutions and bring those solutions to market quickly through Insight, Connection and Adaptability.Learn how organisations, such as Avis Budget Group, are using design thinking to drive better outcomes for their customers.

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Checklist

Six Steps to Becoming a Disruptive Innovator

Embedding disruptive innovation across the organisation Ideas can never be successful if businesses just provide the finance for investment. Management, time, encouragement and commitment are also needed to drive innovation and disruption and embed them in operations and business models. Disruption does not happen overnight; neither does success. You don’t have to invent something new tomorrow to be an agent of disruption; you only have to be willing to reinvent yourself. Setting your organisation on the road to transformation means adopting new ways of thinking and doing business. Get the checklist to uncover the six steps to becoming a disruptive innovator.

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Guide

Unlocking Innovation: A leader’s guide to getting started

Exactly what is innovation management? The process of capturing and managing organisational innovation is essential for business growth. Download the guide to discover how to unlock innovation in your business. Traditionally the territory of R&D teams, today many companies have organisation-wide innovation management programmes. This is due to increased recognition that innovation is essential for driving business growth and maintaining competitive advantage. Successful programmes capture the creativity of employees at every level of the organisation so ideas for new products, business models or process improvements, can be quickly discovered and implemented for maximum value. Wazoku’s Idea Management Software provides a tool for managing innovation wherever and whenever it happens. Ideas can come from anyone within your business, and be shared with a community of peers. The best ideas are routed to your experts and decision-makers to make sure that only those that will drive your business forward are put into practice.  Optimisation, not control Effective innovation management requires three things: a defined process model, a focus on innovation, and the right tools to manage it. It’s important however, to make sure that you’re optimising the process, not controlling it. A strict, hierarchical chain of command can stifle innovation. Instead, employees need to feel individually empowered to drive change and recognised for their innovation. That’s why Idea Management is organic, social and democratic. It allows everyone in your business to create and evaluate ideas with an equal voice. Informal peer networks can then collaborate, refine and vote on ideas so that the best ones make it to the top and individual innovators are rewarded. Making sense of innovation is the key to building a more innovative business today. Download our guide to find out how to get started. Bottom-up emergence and top-down management Great ideas don’t usually come from prescribed brainstorming sessions. Inspiration can come from anywhere and at any time. Your innovation management programme must support idea capture from bottom-up, via employees, as well as top-down from management requests. This flexibility allows you to solve known problems as well as capture unsolicited, spontaneous ideas. Using Wazoku’s Idea Management Software, employees can submit ideas on anything, wherever they are, on any device. All they need is an internet connection. In addition, managers can request ideas on specific subjects to help address existing problems; just think of it as a virtual brainstorm. Start to strategically manage innovation in your organisation. Unlocking Innovation: A leader’s guide to getting started Leaders recognise innovation as critical to long-term growth and survival, but often fail to go from discussing innovation to implementing a rigorous process that allows innovation to thrive. Whilst getting started with an innovation programme can be daunting, it’s imperative. When done right, it can give your organisation access to untapped market potential and the opportunity to differentiate and break away from competition. By downloading this guide, you’ll learn about: Incremental innovation: how small changes can have dramatic impactHow to embed innovation in your people: a sustainable approachRadical innovation: open new industries or disrupt those existingHow to use Design ThinkingIdea Management and how to use it

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eBook

Small Change, Big Impact – Continuous Improvement

Every change starts with an idea. Download the eBook to start working better, smarter, faster. Continuous improvement ideas typically offer smarter, faster or more efficient ways of approaching existing tasks, products or services. These ideas should be easier to implement for the organisation and typically derive more tangible value in a shorter time frame. Continuous improvement is a vital part of innovation management. It is an ongoing and evolving process and ensures that organisations adapt, improve and ready themselves for the future. It is also a way of working that most typically involves and empowers the employees within an organisation. By incrementally improving your businesses processes, products or service offering businesses will often see immediate value through increased efficiencies and reduced complexities through the organisation. Wazoku’s Idea Management Software is being used by global organisations to implement continuous improvement initiatives throughout the businesses to improve operations, realise cost savings and reduce times to market. Small ideas are here to stay, and generally impact and mean so much more to Partners, than the next big strategic change, therefore using a system that allows any Partner, working anywhere in our business, whether driving a van, restocking shelves or managing the marketing POS we use, to submit an idea is very important. Wazoku’s Idea Management Software gives exactly that. // Stuart Eames Operational Improvement Manager, Operational Efficiency, Waitrose By bringing together diverse and disparate workforces to contribute ideas for improvement regardless of scale, our customers benefit from knowledge sharing, creativity and contribution that was previously non-existent. Wazoku works with customers to design innovation programmes that have a clear focus of implementing change in desired areas. Idea Management Software removes perceived barriers between departments or regions, enabling increased transparency across all teams. See how small continuous improvement ideas can have a big impact on your organisation.

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Guide

Guide to Becoming an Everyday Innovator

How do you embed a culture of Everyday innovation? Are you looking to build your company’s innovation capabilities? For an organisation to become an Everyday Innovator, where innovation is embedded across teams, locations and job functions on a daily basis; clear goals, processes, communication and measurement are needed. Using the five pillars of Everyday Innovation: Strategy, Leadership, Management, Culture, and Tools & Processes as a framework, innovation leaders and teams can embark on the iterative journey to becoming an Everyday Innovator. Those who get this right will emerge as true next generation organisations where real competitive advantage is driven by Everyday Innovation being a natural by-product of an amazing organisational culture. This must-read guide offers insights on how to become an Everyday Innovator, including: A 9-step easy to follow modelHow to use outcome-driven change to set objectivesUnderstanding which key metrics to useReal examples of progress and success

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Guide

Retail Innovation Management with Shop Direct and Waitrose

Maximising the benefits of idea management Recently we hosted a breakfast briefing event, featuring speakers from Shop Direct and Waitrose, focusing on their experience using an idea management platform in their innovation programmes. Download our guide and read a summary of the event, featuring their ideas on how to: Increase employee engagementIdentify cost savingsImprove customer satisfaction

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Whitepaper

Disruptors Changing the World: Why Innovation Must be Fuelled by People

Are you a disruptor or are you waiting to be disrupted? In our whitepaper you’ll read about the most successful and disruptive businesses in this decade, how they developed this process, and, most importantly how your business can pivot so it does not get left behind. By downloading this report, you’ll learn about: What is radical innovationHow disruption can be realised and cultivatedSix steps to becoming a disruptive innovatorTonnes of examples of disruptive companies and industries

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Guide

Beginner’s Guide to Idea Management

Why do we need ideas? A strong purpose or a clear goal should be a powerful trigger for the generation of new ideas. The purpose could be born out of necessity, such as a need to make financial savings, or in response to a crisis, such as Facebook’s data breach affecting 87 million users. It may also be driven by a desire to increase transparency and engagement across the organisation. Ideas solve challenges that keep managers and leaders up at night. Next consider how your organisation is currently generating, collating, analysing and implementing ideas. Do you have spreadsheets, an email inbox or another process? These may be difficult to manage and correlate similar ideas, lack insight for participants into other ideas shared or the ability to track progress with their own idea. One centralised, global home for ideas, like Wazoku’s cloud-based idea management platform can ensure this process gives everyone a voice and role in the innovation process. What does idea management software enable you to do? Capture and evaluate ideas within an organisation, with your customers, your partners or even the world, in a structured way.The ability to select and refine ideas that offer the greatest potential business value.Have an effective idea management process.Increase revenue and have a more engaged, productive workforce, ecosystem and customer crowd.Generate ideas as part of dedicated innovation campaigns or continuous idea capture. Wazoku’s Idea Management Software allows you to: Discover the best ideas – and build process and accountability for how to progress them.Run campaigns or challenges within different areas or departments that align with strategic objectives.Collaborate with 10 or 10,000 users, using the comment, like and share functions.Match the right influencers, experts and decision-makers to the right ideas through our smart AI-enabled recommendation engine. Transparent, collaborative process All too often idea software simply provides an online version of the traditional office suggestion box. Ideas go in, a designated person or team read through the suggestions, and a few are selected for further development. Unfortunately this type of system leaves no room for wider collaboration and employees are often unaware of the outcome of their idea. The best idea software tools provide a more transparent and democratic process. Those that also encourage collaboration offer even greater value, as they tend to deliver more complete ideas, resulting in quicker implementation and broader employee buy-in. Wazoku’s Idea Management Software does exactly that. In fact, it not only makes the idea management process completely transparent, democratic and social, it also allows you to reward those who suggest and develop new ideas. Software is not enough Simply providing the right tools to capture and sort ideas is not enough to sustain an ongoing innovation programme. Companies considering idea software need to think about ways to initially encourage employee involvement and develop a culture of innovation over time.

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eBook

10 Steps From Idea Generation To Implementation

Every successfully implemented idea or product is a result of a long and painstakingly supervised innovation process. While principles and methods of idea development are universal for all industries, there is no strict rule regarding the steps from idea generation to implementation. Idea generation is a crucial process for businesses looking to innovate and gain competitive advantage. When you generate ideas with your workforce, ecosystem, customers and beyond – using idea management software  – you’ll collect invaluable insight to improve processes, create breakthrough products or services, disrupt markets and much more. So having a defined process to take these generated ideas and put them into action is a powerful necessity. Here is a list of 10 steps that follow the idea management process from idea generation to implementation. 1 – Idea Selection So you’ve noticed a good idea. Whether you have received an email to an inbox, a notification in your idea management system, or have opened a note from a suggestion box, everyone shares the same starting point – idea selection. Just because someone has suggested an idea themselves, it does not mean that they are always the right person to see it through to completion. It is on you as an innovation leader to find a person with the right strengths, professional aspirations and experience to deliver this project in a meaningful way – innovation cannot be a secondary priority. At this point, you also want to make sure that the person chosen to lead this idea will have some form of resources available to start making it happen. If you cannot delegate preliminary resources at this stage, you’re going to have major problems implementing this down the line. There is no obligation for your selected idea to be a fully-fledged business case. At this stage, an idea is understood to be a hypothesis and might well be altered or changed later. 2 – Scrutiny Of All Aspects Analytically evaluate all aspects of your potential opportunity like an investor. The larger the project, the more the idea’s ROI will be scrutinised. Key aspects of your overall assessment are: The potential target audience you wish to reachThe potential value this idea or product could represent for your businessHow much of a ‘risk’ does this represent (of course, what you define as a risk is up to you)Market viability – does anyone actually want this? While ROI doesn’t always reflect a financial value, it is important you are fully aware of the benefits and risks that follow with your project. 3 – Feedback Collect opinions from people aware of the market, competitors, business model and similar business experience. Their practical expertise, and that of target customers, will help predict the likelihood of idea success. The real test is when the product is launched, but this preliminary research gives a hint. Build a wide range of opinions – as wide as you can. This is essentially what you did in step 2, but shared outwardly. Find your community – whether that be your stakeholders, your employees or your customers. 4 – Feedback Reaction Make necessary changes to your product, strategy and business plan according to the feedback. Anticipate the needed capital to reach set targets. Design an implementation plan with the main objectives in the short term and who will execute them. Just as important as receiving feedback is how you respond to it. At this stage it is important to understand the value of compromise over resilience. While a full-speed-ahead attitude is admirable, the nature of your idea at this stage is vulnerable to the biggest barriers to innovation – sign-off and funding. At this stage, you will also need to start thinking about sourcing the capital required to turn this idea into reality, as you will most likely be asking for funding, or at the very least, resources. It is vital at this stage to take the feedback in and adapt to meet requirements. What matters most is getting a minimum viable working product / project off the ground, even if it’s not the fully-scoped idea you had in mind; there is plenty of time to reiterate and grow from here. 5 – A Basic Version / Product Rather than setting yourself the overly ambitious goal of creating a finished product straight away, focus on simplifying and getting a bare minimum offering out there first. It’s important to keep development open to change and feedback, and by holding back until something is ‘just right’ you ensure that you gain minimal ranges of opinion – and are far more likely to be caught out. A bare minimum offering shows target customers what the product is or will eventually be. A good idea is to build the basic product as quickly as possible, and to make it inexpensive – you have to present a low barrier for entry. What often gets misconstrued – in the tech space especially – is that getting a product to market isn’t at all about working fast, cutting corners and doing an overall rushed job. You don’t need to drive yourself into a crazy rush just to get your product finished and out there. On the other end of the scale and maybe equally as damaging – you mustn’t scale back your ambitions to tiny projects just to ensure you don’t spend too much time. Both of these result in a sub-standard offering. The key is to start with your minimum viable product (MVP), get that right and functional and then build from there. 6 – Hitting The Market Get your product to market quickly and start examining customer reactions. While one manufacturer waits and refines their product to make it ideal for customers, a competitor sells successfully an acceptable similar product. But why force out an unfinished project? Many would react in shock being advised to release something that’s not done. So, why does this matter? It matters because right now, it is essentially still just you and your idea. Even with co-workers and even stakeholders involved, it is still entirely internal. You assume that people would be interested in your project, or buying your product, but you have nothing of any real weight until you test to find out. A minimum viable project isn’t just a way to get a working example live so your market can start engaging, it’s also a very good way to minimise risk. If your project doesn’t have the reaction from the market you’ve expected, here is where you can go back to the drawing board without losing a significant investment. 7 – Go For A Test Drive Early testing of business experience factors such as pricing model, visual branding, messaging and customer experience can be done at this stage. This by no means is your final version, but keep in mind the promises you make in this stage as everything is still up for change. This is a dry-run for your business, where you can gauge real market response. It is entirely up to you how narrow or broad your test drive is. This is also, even more so than the product itself, the perfect testing ground for marketing messaging, sales pitches, promotions and campaigns. 8 – Corrections And Improvements This is quite possibly the most important stage of the ten. How you respond to feedback will determine how close your product will resonate with the market. Remember, you want criticisms and questions; if you get only positive responses back you’ve either created something perfect (nice!…but…unlikely) or your audience just isn’t the right one. In truth, this is also stage 11; you will want to continuously improve your offering, and there’s no better way to do that than to listen to what your customers struggle with. If focused on a more digital deliverable, this is an incredibly useful QA stage of sorts to test User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI). Additionally, if your MVP’s UI & UX are causing confusion, something needs to change here as your product is only going to get busier and more developed. 9 – Growth Planning Updates on the product, business plan, marketing and financial strategies enable expansion. If it really proves to be a winning pitch, this is also a good time to gather resources and raise capital. This is where you truly start building for the future. Your idea is no doubt exploding with potential features, implementations or applications, and this is where you get to map out exactly what your idea’s picture of success is, as well as the timeframe in which you wish to achieve these goals. As you’re currently sitting at MVP status, you will want to evaluate exactly what is required to drive you forward. Key aspects to focus on in this stage are: Roadmap of product updatesOverall business planMarketing strategyResources requiredCapital requiredAppropriate stretch goals 10 – Time To Expand It might be the last point, but it isn’t the end of your journey. Expansion should always be followed by corrections and improvements, followed again by expansion. It is a constant cycle of continuous, autonomous improvements that we call Everyday Innovation. With a proven business strategy, an ambitious expansion plan, engaged stakeholders already invested, a ready and responsive market and an outcome that will continue to grow and improve, your idea is set to take on the world. This example of a success story would not be possible without the right idea management process in place. Since innovation plays a central role in every sustainable business strategy, many companies rely on innovation software to help them capture, evaluate and implement the brightest ideas.

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Whitepaper

Innovation at Scale: Agile Innovation

A framework for Innovation at Scale Repeatable, renewable, recurring value- creation cannot happen without a process for routinely developing ideas through to impact.These routines of capturing, developing and selecting ideas not only need to be staffed and managed, but they also need to be understood and valued by everyone within the organization.The Ambidextrous Organization- in order to be successful in the long term, businesses need to explore new ideasand forms of value creation, while also exploiting their existing capabilities.They need to embed and enable this capability across every part of their organization in a systemic and structured way, finding the right balance between exploitation for today and exploration for tomorrow (see below). The balance (mix) will vary significantly across organizations, over time and by context. The Ambidextrous Organization What is Agile Innovation Agile Innovation is framework within which people, teams and organizations can address complex change, transformation and innovation problems at scale. The framework is underpinned by our proprietary Challenge Driven Innovation methodology, a proven approach that accelerates your innovation outcomes and increases your capacity and capabilities for innovation at scale. It applies agile thinking and techniques to the process of value creation at the heart of all innovation and transformation programmes. Why Agile Innovation is critical: Pull risk forward – fail fastPush cost back – lean mindsetScale capacity – create an unlimited capacity for innovationScale capability – build an empowered and enabled culture of innovationQuality – dramatically improve success rates vs traditional innovation approaches

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Guide

Guides to Innovation at Scale: Intrapreneurship Programs

Intrapreneurship Programs: An Introduction Intrapreneurship programs are a great tool to have in your innovation kit. Described by MIT’s Sloan School for Management as “acting like an entrepreneur within an established company”, it allows an organization to identify, nurture, and support talent from within its own ecosystem. No one knows your business better than the people who work there every day. Improvements to existing operations and new ideas worth exploring are things that these colleagues, known as ‘intrapreneurs’, ponder on a regular basis. Having a scheme in an organization that gives leaders a way to identify these intrapreneurs and give them a framework to develop their ideas helps a business to stay relevant. With 88% of Fortune 500 companies in 1955 becoming obsolete by 2015, passing up on this opportunity can have dire consequences for the organization’s long-term health. As a way of fostering this culture of innovation, intrapreneurship programs rank among the best out there. In this guide, we’ll discuss both how these programs can be introduced into a business environment and outline the numerous benefits they bring to an organization. How To Set Up an Intrapreneurship Program: Imagine that a company wants to use its program to gather ideas on new products and services. Through this lens, we will now illustrate the stages of a successful intrapreneurship program. To begin with, getting the buy-in of the intrapreneurs is crucial. To identify who they are, think of the people who are viewed as leaders, highfliers, and natural entrepreneurs within the organization, even without a program like this in place. They will have ideas that are ready to go. Now they need company infrastructure that allows them to develop these ideas into proposals that they can take ownership of. Without this framework, these people will explore other avenues, including leaving the business to start their own company. Some text, a video, or even a physical presentation provided to these individuals that outlines the objectives of the program is the ideal way to begin, as they can use this to refer to when formulating their proposals. How to Capture the Ideas: Now that the buy-in of these intrapreneurs has been secured, the program can start to move forward. The first step should be to gather the formative proposals for new products or services that these intrapreneurs have come up with.  A page that asks some basic questions, so that the company can understand what the problem is, what the solution suggested is, and what benefits this can bring, is an effective way of doing this. These questions should be detailed enough to answer those basic points, without being so specific that they create a barrier to entry for even the most energized intrapreneur. Once these proposals have been captured, reviewing them is the next step. Initially, it makes sense that this is done by management colleagues, especially those tasked with overseeing your innovation strategy. As the process matures, however, a great way to ensure that an intrapreneurship program continues to nurture and support the natural entrepreneurs within the business arises. Giving this task to those colleagues who have created a successful solution keeps them engaged with the scheme whilst also optimizing their specific expertise. Using them to judge which proposals should be explored further and which should be rejected makes the management of the program more consistent. Progressing Successful Ideas: Following a first successful screening, the intrapreneur needs to develop their proposal further. As the purpose of the program is for this process to take place in-house, it is vital that the intrapreneur is allowed to do this on company time. Managers need to be prepared to allow these individuals time away from their normal responsibilities, but this shouldn’t mean that the intrapreneur is left without support.  To ensure that this time is spent productively, we recommend using a business canvas. These tools act as trouble-shooters for a proposal that all users can contribute to. It’s at this point that the value of utilizing your entire organization comes into play. This stage ensures that the intrapreneur has considered their proposal from every possible aspect. Everyone has a blind spot, so this gives the intrapreneur a chance to shore up their proposal ahead of the next and final part of the process, which is pitching. The chance to get in front of board members, CEOs, and other senior management figures is not something afforded to most intrapreneurs in their day-to-day jobs. By getting to the pitching stage, this grants them senior exposure and the chance to get sign-off on their proposal. Key Considerations: A key element of the intrapreneurship program is feedback. When a proposal is declined, at whatever stage, the intrapreneur should be given a reason why. Without this, any future proposals they submit are likely to suffer from the same issue, leading to dissatisfaction and disillusion with the process for that intrapreneur. This is the basic structure that an intrapreneurship program should take. There are opportunities for customization, as with all workflows, to better suit any unique business needs, but this is the general framework that a company should build from. Why Run an Intrapreneurship Program? The benefits of introducing an intrapreneurship program can extend to anyone in an organization, as well as the business entity itself. From the perspective of the intrapreneur, as well as offering senior exposure and the potential for promotion, it delivers heightened job satisfaction. By having a transparent environment that shows the company is committed to hearing any and all ideas submitted, intrapreneurs feel more able to explore solutions they have without fear of reprimand. As an employer, this makes retention of staff much more likely. In this sense, a way of justifying running an intrapreneurship program is looking at the consequences of not having one. Doing so often results in a situation where a disgruntled employee leaves to start their own venture, which can easily and quickly become a competitor, an outcome which no business is aiming for. Finally, from a business point of view, it allows for the fostering of an in-house innovation culture and an avenue through which to view the relative health of the company. By cutting down the barriers that currently exist, innovation is made more achievable. When this is the case, ideas are generated in a much greater volume and at greater regularity than before, and scaling of the program is much easier to achieve. As well as this, intrapreneurship programs that are run through platforms that have built-in analytics software allow for real-time monitoring of how the scheme is operating. With elements such as idea funnels and leaderboards, platforms like Wazoku provide access to data that shows a business who is engaging and who is not. Conclusion: In this guide, we’ve introduced the concept of an intrapreneurship program. We’ve also shown how to create one, both organically or by using the established Wazoku platform. Finally, we’ve used our experience with these types of programs to underline why they have proven so successful in identifying, nurturing, and supporting intrapreneurs. Every journey that ends in a successful intrapreneurship program, begins with someone in an organization taking a risk. Innovation is, inherently, the practice of optimizing the unknown. So, whilst it may seem an impossible task now, setting up an intrapreneurship program could see an organization be the next to reap the endless benefits that they can bring. About Wazoku: Wazoku is a pioneer in open innovation, crowdsourcing, and innovation at scale. For more than two decades, we’ve been helping our clients deliver sustainable and scalable innovation practices. As both for-profit and for-purpose, our software and expertise have been used to gain competitive advantage and overcome humanitarian crises around the globe, all of which is underpinned by the belief that anyone can be an innovator.

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